Today is a special day. It celebrates someone who is very dear to me—my big brother. When my brother Josh was born, my parents were not prepared to care for a child with Down syndrome. They had no idea what challenges and heartaches they would face, but they also had no idea of the immense joy and love that they would experience.

When Josh was between the ages of 12-15, I remember going to a support group with my mom. We got out of the car and she asked my sister and me if a child there reminded us of someone. The child had Down syndrome. She was asking to see if we would realize that this child was like our big brother.

She taught us about what it meant to have Down syndrome and how special my brother and others like him were. 

My parents are some of the most extraordinary people that I know. Even though they had no experience of raising a child, God gave them the extraordinary gift of Josh. They worked countless hours with him teaching him things that other kids picked up easily. My mom especially worked with Josh at home. She labeled things around the house to help him learn words. She constantly played video or audio to stimulate his brain. She would sit at the kitchen table with him after school to help him with his homework. She even went to school to work with him one on one.

When looking at Josh most people see a man with Down Syndrome, but I see my brother that loves me more than I can imagine. I see one of the most precious gifts from God that I have ever experienced in my life. I know that I am who I am today because of Josh. I would be lost without him.

Many times, Josh would be the first to respond to an altar call and then others would follow.

Josh is an amazing person. He loves people and he loves God. He goes to church every chance he gets. Many times, Josh would be the first to respond to an altar call and then others would follow. He reads his Bible and prays most every day. He also reads from books by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Sometimes it takes him several years to finish reading them, but he can and does read them. Everyone who knows him knows that he loves to eat. He often asks what we will be having for supper. He has competed in swimming in the Special Olympics and won many gold medals. He also enjoys volleyball, softball, and basketball.  He is loved by all—young and old. He is very tender-hearted, especially towards his nephews and niece.

He has taught me and all the people around him of God’s love and compassion. In fact, I believe that people with Down syndrome have a larger capacity to love people. They don’t see the outward flaws and weaknesses that so many people focus on, but they see the true person inside.

Those with Down syndrome do not see the outward flaws that so many people focus on. They see the true person inside.

According to an article published on Focus on the Family by Brittany Raymer (2018), 67-90% of unborn babies diagnosed with having Down syndrome are aborted in the United States. These abortion rates rise all the way to 100% in Iceland (Raymer, 2018).  My heart breaks at the reality of these statistics. The murder of these unborn babies is evil. Babies with Down syndrome have as much right to live as other babies. 

I believe this day is important to celebrate the beautiful gift of life that God has given. Having Down syndrome is not a tragedy; it is a gift. God has greatly blessed our family through the gift of Josh. He is one of the greatest people I know. My family would want it no other way!